During a real estate course I took years ago, the trainer used a fantastic example of how human nature dictates the selection process. She produced two $1 bills. One was fresh from the bank. You almost had to check to make sure you didn’t have a second one pasted to the back it was so new. The second bill was mutilated, laundered, and was nearly disintegrated.
The trainer went to someone in the front row and asked, “Which one do you want?” The obvious answer was the clean, crisp, freshly printed bill. Why? The value of both was the same. They both are legal tender in any American retail outlet around the country and several countries around the world. But — the clean one always got selected.
The requirements to get top dollar have and always will be the same:
- Clean the house. Thoroughly — before you put it on the market. If it’s not clean, don’t even consider putting it on the market. You will lose a contract just because of dust, dirt, untidiness.
- Paint the interior. Paint is cheap, but cleans up any dwelling place.
- Declutter. Get rid of everything you don’t need to live on a day-by-day basis. You don’t need your seasonal decorations. The kids can do without half their toys. You can probably live without a third of your furniture. Get it into storage or a friend’s house. Space adds value.
- Have handouts. With more properties on the market, you need to make sure your house is memorable — with a good marketing plan that includes a flier the buyers can take with them.
- Price right. Look at all the parameters of your house, not just the bedroom and bath count. One of the houses above is sitting on a half-acre lot with a 1-car garage and built in the same year as it’s counterpart listed for about the same amount of money, but which has only half as much land and no garage — not even a carport — but they’re in the same area. (This is mostly the Realtor’s job, but a stubborn seller may cause an over-priced listing.)
When placing your house on the market, keep in mind it’s more involved and requires more work than selling a used car. We’re not talking a difference of a couple hundred dollars on price here. Missing the mark on price and condition could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
Here are 13 simple and inexpensive tips to spruce up any home within minutes.
1. Put in a new “Welcome” mat
2. Add mulch to the flower beds and shrubs
3. Clear foyers of any clutter of furniture. Clean light fixtures and scrub floors.
4. Put away all collections (figurines, fragile items, religious, political or sports paraphernalia)
5. Remove all crowed furniture from living room; open space is best
6. Cover dining room table with white cloth and top with fresh flowers
7. Remove all magnets and pictures from refrigerator
8. Stow all small appliances under cabinets to free up space
9. Spruce up old tile bathrooms with white towels, window treatments and scatter rugs
10. Remove bulkier furniture from bedrooms and they will appear larger
11. Organize closets so they appear roomy
12. Remove stains from garage floor
13. Make sure all outdoor furniture is clean, orderly and not excessive.
The old saying, “you never have a second chance to make a good impression,” applies not only to people, but also to homes. With a little cleanliness, clutter-free and color, you can entice buyers to say to themselves, “I’ve always wanted to live like this,” Which will sell a home a whole lot faster than you might think.